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State Representative William Davis

Rep. Davis “makes rounds”

Mini-internship looks at future of oncology

The state of oncology care during an era of dwindling reimbursement was the topic of a CMS Mini-internship at Ingalls Memorial Hospital on Sept 1.

Pairing Mark Kozloff, MD, an oncologist-hematologist, and medical director of Ingalls’ cancer care program, with Rep. William Q. Davis (30th Dist.), the internship included a tour of the oncology unit and roundtable discussions with physicians and administrative staff.

Dr. Kozloff relayed to Rep. Davis the challenges of caring for cancer patients while struggling to keep the lights on. His Ingalls colleague, Cheryl Woodson, MD, said she shares the same worries in her primary care practice.  Joined by Ingalls CEO Kurt E. Johnson, participants gave Rep. Davis their views on Illinois’ new Medicaid managed care program, Medicare-imposed red-tape, and insurance companies that play doctor.

Rep. Davis met several oncology unit patients, and expressed his admiration for Dr. Kozloff’s bedside manner as the doctor made his rounds.  Rep. Davis also learned about clinical drug trials at Ingalls that contributed to new cancer medications, such as Avastin and Rituxan.  According to clinical trials nurse Lynn Muir, RN, Ingalls was involved in the STAR trial to evaluate tamoxifen and raloxifene and the TAILORx study.

Dr. Kozloff told the group that his private practice had shifted over to an EMR system in late August, requiring the staff and doctors to work extra long hours inputting patient data.  Dr. Kozloff said he has a hard time giving patients a diagnosis while simultaneously trying to type into the computer.  He would much rather attend to the patient first and then input the information.

For his part, Rep. Davis stated that “real world observations of policy decisions are always time well spent.”  He was most impressed by the high number of minorities who are participating in the clinical trials.  He relayed his hopes that physicians will continue to reach out to their legislators.

“It is always important for lawmakers to know and understand the implications of their decisions on providers and constituents.”

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